When I hit the pavement for my evening runs, I use the Nike Running App that sync with your iTunes and GPS. Every mile, this robotic woman updates you with the number of miles and average pace per mile. Let me tell you, I am very hard on myself, like my own worst nightmare of a mean personal trainer. Nike App woman throws out a 10 minute miler update and I am scoffing at my speed, my lack of training or loss of what used to be. In the next few paces, I push, push, push to hear that 9 in the next update or I pull the dog faster and secretly blame him for the speed. You can imagine the mind game and how tiring it is, all while running at the same time.
So this past week, I am rocking a similar routine. I turn up the volume on the robot mileage tracker and Run Playlist and head towards the ocean. The first mile has quite a few stop lights, an untied shoe lace and a pause to switch song and stretch the calves before I hit the Ocean walk. I hear the update at mile one, she yells: "average pace: 13 minutes per mile" and I literally almost turn around. What, did she say 13? The judgment starts to trickle in and I push it aside and run on . The temperature is too perfect, my new neon faded green tank is too awesome and my legs start to find each step in beat with the music. My stride. My time. My run.
The next update came through closer to an 11, which is clearly not a 9, and I just let it all go. I give in to the 80s music, the sunshine on the Pacific Ocean and the mountains in the distance. In that moment, I choose that I enjoy the pace and relax into the movement.
My stride. My time. My run.
And then the next update came in and I was pretty much coasting by mile 4 around the 10 minute marker. And I felt so good. Every song provided just a push or just a slice to slow down and catch my stride again to rock the distance, and I kept running.
I stopped the expectation of what my time was in 2012. I let go of all the people running faster than me, most likely at that 9 minute/mile pace. I was running my own run that day.
When I got back home after she shouted out 8 miles at 1 hour and 23 minutes, I felt effing on fire. I was so proud of myself, I put the dog on his leash and went and bought a bottle of sweet, buttery Chardonnay. My boyfriend walked in the door that night and I said you will not believe what I did today and I gushed about my distance, my run, my evening on the pavement.
And I realize that letting go of the ego, the expectation and the pushing, pushing, pushing allowed me to surrender, to soften and actually go further. Feels backwards. And it feels so right on. Be it to the music, be it to my body, be it to the feeling of the outdoors while the sun was about to set, I let go and was able to celebrate me and my stride.
I completely understand how this shows up in my real life, how often I live this pattern in and out of my running shoes. I am quick to judge myself, get impatient with the time or push to go faster when truly my body, my heart, my entire being wants to surrender and get on beat with the 80s music I so love. Sound familiar?
Do something today for you. No expectation, no comparison, no judgement. Just for today, don't worry about the time. Find your pace, listen closely for it, feel deeper for it, and surrender.
Let me know how it goes and by all means, celebrate!